Reviews for 11 Birthdays
Booklist Reviews 2008 December #2
"*Starred Review* Amanda and Leo, born on the same day, have celebrated their birthdays together for 10 years. Still feeling hurt from an unkind remark Leo made at last year s party, Amanda spends her eleventh birthday without her now-estranged friend to share the fun. In the days that follow, both Amanda and Leo discover that they are caught in a time loop, waking up each morning to find themselves repeating their eleventh birthdays. They soon renew their friendship and begin to experiment by making different choices throughout the day, partly for the thrill of acting without long-term consequences and partly from their fear of never escaping this mysterious time trap. From the double-entendre title to the solid character portrayals to the clarity and wit of the writing, this novel offers a fresh twist on the familiar themes of middle-grade family and school dynamics. The mysterious power that rewinds time eventually seems less important than the power that Amanda finds within herself. Emboldened by the idea of daily do-overs, she discovers that small changes in her attitude and actions result in sometimes-subtle, sometimes-monumental shifts in results for herself, her family, and her friends. A rewarding choice for readers and a natural for booktalks and discussion groups." Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2008 December #2
In this slow-paced middle-school friendship saga, mildly spiced with a bit of fantasy, readers meet Amanda and Leo, best friends who have spent every birthday together since day one. That is, until their tenth birthday party, at which Amanda happens to overhear Leo talking her down to some classmates. In an extreme overreaction, she flees the party and cuts Leo out of her life. Implausibly, Amanda's grudge endures for an entire year, and she finds herself, stubborn and miserable, celebrating her 11th birthday alone. She muddles through a rotten day only to discover that she has to relive it, literally, over and over. When Amanda learns that Leo is likewise stuck, the former friends join forces, learning that dramatic consequences result from their smallest actions and discovering, in a somewhat contrived conclusion, what an old feud, an enchantment and the apple grove long since replaced by the town mall have to do with their extraordinary friendship. The commendable focus on a boy/girl friendship is somewhat offset by the flatness of the individual characters, particularly Leo. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 December #4
Like a Groundhog Day for middle grade readers, Mass's (Every Soul a Star) winning story features a girl seemingly trapped in her 11th birthday. Amanda seems doomed to relive her failed try-out for the gymnastics team, her mother being fired from her job and, worst of all, the party that even her best friend leaves early--to go to the party hosted by her former friend, Leo. The two have celebrated every previous birthday together (they were born on the same day), but a misunderstanding on their 10th has gone unresolved. After several repeats of the day, Amanda and Leo realize they are in this mess together and must work as a team. Girls will relate to Amanda's insecurities, and the confidence and insights she gains will resonate with them. Mass's expertise with pacing keeps the story moving at a lively clip, and her understanding of this age group is as finely honed as ever. Ages 9-12. (Jan.) [Page 50]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.